Christian Horner identifies the team that caught his eye the most at F1 2023 testing
Christian Horner has joined the voices to highlight Aston Martin as having taken a “big step” in performance over winter, after an impressive test showing.
The AMR23 looked both fast and reliable in the hands of Fernando Alonso and reserve driver Felipe Drugovich over the three days of pre-season testing in Bahrain, with the investments the team have made in beefing up their technical staff and building a new factory appearing to look like they are paying off, on early evidence.
Their 2023 car is also the first to have been fully built under the technical leadership of Dan Fallows, the former aerodynamics chief at Horner’s Red Bull team whom Aston Martin hired in the hope of bringing success to ‘Team Silverstone’ moving forward.
Whether or not they will be able to muscle in on the fight among the top three teams remains to be seen, but Horner himself is unsure of where the competitive order stands.
“Very difficult to say,” Horner said during testing, per Formula1.com. “I mean, Ferrari look like they’re quick, Mercedes’ form [is] difficult to read at the moment.
“Are they holding something back? We’ll see this time next week; I think all will become clear.”
Horner had spoken recently about hearing of “big numbers” coming out of Aston Martin’s simulations, and those predictions appear to have come into reality with their showing in testing.
The true competitive order will not show itself until next weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, but the Silverstone-based team’s improvements have been evident to the Red Bull team principal’s eye.
“Yeah, I think they’ve made a big step,” Horner said of Aston’s progress. “It looks like their concept of car has moved them forward and they look like they’re not too far away, so Fernando in particular looks very competitive.”
The consensus coming away from testing is that Red Bull appear to be the team to beat once again this season, with Max Verstappen having spoken confidently about the performance of the RB19 and getting straight to work during testing, with the team topping the times on two out of the three test days and showing solid reliability throughout.
With Sergio Perez having been in the cockpit for the final day of running, Horner was pleased to report that both drivers have been offering similar feedback on how to improve the car even further.
“It’s been pretty consistent with Max’s, which is always refreshing to hear,” Horner confirmed of Perez’s notes on the RB19. “So therefore the development of the car and the direction that we’ll be looking to optimise the car in future races is consistent between both sides of the garage, so that’s encouraging.”
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
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